Monday, 25 November 2013

Baby Steps: An Indian's Guide to Baby Food

Let’s define a new age Indian mom. We are a whole new breed in ourselves; picking up bits from superstitiously bitten last generation, and the fearless Wild West; treading the path of balance in whatever is hurled up on us! I belong to this category, and I can tell you it isn’t as easy as it may look like. It took Lord Buddha a whole lifetime to attain the wisdom of being on the middle path, and it would be so for us as well!!


But it’s not always so bad! We have options, and that’s a luxury. The mighty Bai to family all around... Helpful neighbours to eager-to-help new age dads... I can’t really complain in this field; but when it comes to baby products, this new age mom is completely confused and stranded on a cross road. Internet is filthy full of Uncle Sam’s take on baby products, but obviously Aunt Indie is different and her needs are different as well. So when my baby suddenly started eating, I was a bit flustered trying to understand what to give and what not to. The paediatrician’s list was not so detailed for a first-time, nervous, recipe-blogger mommy. So a bit more research and inputs by other mommies later, I came up with a plan. And so here I am with my full proof stage-1 plan, for starting solids for an infant (after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding). Stage 2 and 3 would follow as and when my little one graduates up the ladder.

Stage 1- Baby food

I divided a balanced meal into the broad categories of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fruits & Veggies. Starting a baby on carbohydrates (only rice) is one of the best ways to move forward. But Aunt Indie has a ritual of annaprashan. It marks the beginning of the weaning stage. As the date of annaprashan depends on ritualistic holy calendars, it fell a couple of weeks after my doctor advised us to start my baby on solids. So, I started my little one on fruits, rather than rice.

1st baby meal- Apple puree
Half an apple, thoroughly washed, peeled and pressure cooked till tender. Put as less water as possible, to keep the nutrient intact. As it was one of the first meals for my baby, I used to mix in a bit of expressed breast milk for him to understand and like the new complex taste. Alternatively you could use some infant formula.

After Annaprashan, I washed and dried a handful of rice (small grains as it’s easier to digest).

2nd baby meal- Home-made rice cereal
·1 tsp of dry roasted rice powder (I roasted the rice on a high flame for a couple of seconds, just to eliminate any moisture and for easier cooking later).
·         2 ounces of prepared baby formula
·         ¼ tsp of dark jaggery (try not to use sugar, jaggery is a great source of iron)
·         3-4 drops of ghee (essential fats)
·         A small pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)
·         Filtered Water for thinning the paste to your desired consistency


Cook the first three ingredients till the rice is cooked and properly dispersed through the mixture. Thin it out with more water as desired. Add ghee and cinnamon powder and bring it to a rolling boil.

Cool and feed! This is one yummy baby food that everyone in the house is going to enjoy. The first time I made it for my little one, his granny proclaimed that she is going to have that only for her dinner. For adults, I jazzed it up with a bit more milk, cow’s milk and jaggery. It can any day be a great dessert served chilled!! J

Now spices are optional, but you can include it in really small quantities in your baby’s food. Remember, start only one thing at a time, and keep a gap of a week before you start any other kind of food. It’s best to not serve anything raw for the first few times that your baby eats.

3rd baby meal- proteins in the form of mashed khichdi

Now here the gap between Uncle Sam and Aunt Indie is the most. Lentils are a great source of protein and I strongly feel it should be the first protein to be incorporated in a baby’s diet. So I chose a variety which is easily digested. Split yellow mung was my first choice. I washed the lentils well, roasted it a bit and in the processor to get a good powder.
·         Mung dal roasted and ground
·         Rice roasted and ground
·         3-4 drops of ghee (essential fats)
·         Filtered Water for thinning the paste to your desired consistency

Cook till the rice and dal are done and tender.
The ratio of it will depend on the stage your baby is. Start with 1 part mung dal to 2 parts rice and aim to slowly come to equal parts of mung to rice.

I add a small pinch of whole jeera, roasted in the processor and grind it well with mung and rice. This is purely for taste and would ready the baby’s palette for all the Indian curries he will start in a while.

Slowly add in some veggies, once the baby settles for mung. First to add are root veggies like carrots and potatoes. Then on I will start some greener veggies like peas and ripe tomatoes. After adding the veggies, my little one loved his khichdi.

Salt

It’s a huge debate!! Do you salt baby’s food or not?? Earlier generation salted it generously, but internet says no salt for the first year. I am still in the crossroads, wondering where to go from here. Till now, I haven’t given my LO salt in any of his meals. He is savouring the natural sweetness of milk, fruits and veggies, with a slight nudge of jaggery for its iron benefit. So here I am asking my readers, what do u do? If you have read till, you are definitely a parent or a soon to be one. Throw in a comment on this issue. I am eager to hear what you had done or would do in this situation. 
Cheers!!

4 comments:

  1. I say no salt. The bub gets all the salt needed from BM or formula. So anything you add is going to be extra work on the kidneys. Also it's a very good eating habit. My bub is 2+ now and even though he has tasted all the salty cheesy sugary junk in the world he steal eats his steamed veggies, eggs, steamed fish saltless. Cause that's the taste he has been conditioned to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, my paed didnt mind us putting some salt in his food! so now i m salting it, lightly obviously. i think it was more because both i and my husband are low on BP, and so i guess salt will b imp for him!

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  2. For me too, it was no salt... As my peditrican recommended salt has worse impacts on infant's kidney than that of sugar... So me and amit were fine to wait for next few montha...
    Very well explained home made baby food BTW... I am certainly going to recommend ur blog to new or expecting mommies...😊😊

    Thanks
    Shikha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a bunch shikha!! Do help in spreading the word!! :)

      Delete

We are always eager to hear your take on food, my way!!!

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